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China escalates war of words with US over internet freedom

China has officially denied any state involvement in cyber attacks on Google and more than 20 other companies.

A Chinese government spokesman told the state-run Xinhua news agency that claims that Beijing was behind recent cyber attacks were groundless, according to the BBC.

The Chinese government is firmly opposed to cyber attacks, said the spokesman from China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

The statement was one of several aimed at rebutting allegations by Google and remarks by US secretary of state Hillary Clinton in a speech on internet freedom.

Clinton called on China to investigate claims by Google that it had been targeted by China-based hackers.

She said companies such as Google should refuse to support politically motivated censorship.

Google has threatened to shut down its search operations in China unless authorities agree to allow it to provide uncensored search results.

In further criticism of the US, an article in the Communist Party's main newspaper accused the US of seeking to control the internet.

The People's Daily newspaper said, "In the eyes of American politicians, only when information is controlled by the US does it count as free information," according to the Wall Street Journal.

The article also accused the US of developing the concept of cyber warfare and using the internet to foment unrest in Iran.

"It was America that initiated internet warfare, using YouTube videos and Twitter micro-blog misinformation to split, incite, and sow discord between the conservative and reform factions to bring about large-scale bloodshed in Iran," the article said.

In her speech, Clinton set out US government plans to increase free access to online information and to limit the harm that criminals could do online.

"New technologies do not take sides in the struggle for freedom and progress, but the United States does. We stand for a single internet where all of humanity has equal access to knowledge and ideas," she said.


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